By Bob Respert © 2004
In preparation for heading out to my ten year high school reunion, some of my friends and I got together for food and drinks. I was concentrating on the drink portion of the meeting.
I have a HUGE problem with remembering peoples names. I actually dread going certain places when I'm back in town because you can count on bumping into somebody. So I wanted a nice headstart on the booze.
Sometimes, I just can't tell the difference between people I recognize as being from my hometown, and people I actually know from my hometown. I had the same problem in college because you'd see the same people in your business classes over and over, so when you were at a random party a year or two down the road, you had to determine if they looked familiar because you walked by them 600 times, or because you actually knew them, had a study group with them, or had sex with their sister.
Of course the chances of the last scenario being the one is slim to none.
Anywho, with a few drinks in the stomach, we head out to the reunion. The first person I see is a guy named Ivan. We always joked about Ivan because he was that guy who used Fuck, Fucking, and Fuckin as much as Paris Hilton say's "That's hot."
A normal sentence from Ivan would go something like,
"Fuckin Bob! Man, I was just fucking talking about you and fuckin...man, what was his fucking name...that guy with the fucking brother in the army....Fuck!"
So I walk in the door, and he drops two F-bombs in the first sentence he delivers. Ahh, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
We walk up to the desk to get our name badges, and I immediately bump into someone whose name I can't recall. Of course, to be hip, she and half of everyone else has their name tags in hard to read locations.
So I get through that without anyone noticing, and I make a break for my friend Andrea's side. We get in a conversation with some people I know, but one person I only recognize. Thus begins the phrase I mutter many times in the evening as I make an obvious attempt to read nametags.
"Sorry man, seeing everyone for the first time in ten years has my brain on sensory overload."
It seemed to be working alright.
Now there are only a few things you could do to make a reunion awkward for somebody, and one of those is to walk up and start right in on stories with somebody you were never really close with. You gotta ease into it, maybe they (me) are having trouble remembering your name.
So within 15 minutes of being in the building, a dude who looks a lot like Jack Osborne walks into the group of us talking and starts right in on me.
"Man, I thought that was you."
Then, looking at the girl next to me, he begins to regale her with stories about being my suite-mate in college, and how it was such great times. He was being pretty generic about it, and I didn't recognize him one bit. I thought he was just fucking around, cause he looked like the kind of guy with a quirky enough personality to do just that.
I actually said that I didn't recognize him, rather than pulling the "Oh yeah, how ya doin man, it's been a long time" crap.
I would have bet money he was bullshittin? me, and then he begins to tell me about the suite-mate that I do remember, and before you know it, I'm 100% certain that I shared a bathroom with this guy for at least one semester in college, and I still don't recognize the guy at all. In fact, I don't remember the other guy even having a suitemate.
To make the situation even more ridiculous, he didn't even go to my high school. He married a girl that was in my class. She was the one that I was greeted by at the desk where I couldn't remember her name.
I figured it to be a long night.
Everybody was married, mostly to goofy looking bastards. As I saw person after person from my past, I had a certain feeling that I was having trouble describing. It wasn't until I saw this guy who was still rocking the same pony tail from high school that it hit me.
It was like the scene from Old School were Luke Wilson's character is drunk and giving his best man speech. He looks into the crowd and with sincere giddiness he says something to the extent of
"I haven't seen your dad in like, ten years, that's awesome. Congratulations!"
I kept looking over at people thinking,
"Hey, he's still got the same ponytail. That's awesome!"
"Wow, so that's why Meijers is always out of Twinkies!"
It really ended up being nice to see a bunch of old faces from the past, though. I was amazed that certain people didn't change at all, but then again, I don't think I changed all that much.
Seeing that guy who was still rocking the same ponytail though, that made my night.
That was awesome. If you're reading this, congratulations on that.
Bob Respert is a pharmaceutical salesman from Michigan.
January 21, 2005
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